WELLSBURG - After 110 minutes of soccer and five-and-a-half rounds of penalty kicks, with Weir holding a 4-3 advantage, it came down to Wheeling Central's Roger Targosky shooting at Weir goaltender Josh Barney.
Targosky shot left and Barney guessed correctly, diving to make a save and earning his team a 4-3 shootout victory and a West Virginia Class AA-A, Region 1, Section 1 crown Monday at Brooke High School.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game coming down here," Weir coach Joe Pepe said. "I've been watching their scores. They beat Morgantown. They beat Steubenville Big Red."
Wheeling Central goalie Jacob Mayles, center, snares the ball during Monday’s match.
Photo by Fred Younce
Throughout the action, it looked as if each team would strike first. Both teams saw headers go off the crossbar, open net opportunities sail just wide of the goal, and their respective goaltenders, Barney for Weir and Jacob Mayles from Wheeling Central, make spectacular saves to preserve a scoreless tie in regulation and overtime.
"We lost 4-0 to Weir earlier in the season," Wheeling Central coach Charlie Schlegal said. "It was a great effort. They did a super job. Anyone who was disappointed watching this game on either side is a dope. It was so well played."
The Red Riders and Maroon Knights went scoreless through two 40-minute halves, two 10-minute overtime periods, and two 5-minute golden goal overtime periods before things went to a shootout.
Weir's Ryan Duke started the first round of the shootout by going right. The ball sailed past Mayles, who guessed left, and Weir led 1-0.
Daniel Lee evened things up for Wheeling Central, beating Barney to the left and it was 1-1.
In Round 2, Conner Addison's shot sailed wide right for Weir and Barney deflected Wheeling Central's Corey Cottrell's shot off the right post to keep the score 1-1.
The Maroon Knights took a lead after the third round. Mayles made a save on a shot from Weir's Chad Hensley, while Barney guessed wrong on Harry Lee's shot to give Wheeling Central a 2-1 lead.
Both teams scored in the fourth round as Weir's Alex Hannah and Wheeling Central's Josh Pawlowski made the score 3-2 Maroon Knights.
Weir's Austin Hoover scored on his fifth-round attempt. This set up Wheeling Central's Pablo Lopez, who scored the Maroon Knights' game winning shot in overtime against Oak Glen to get his team in this game, with a chance to win the game on the final kick of the shootout.
Barney made a fantastic diving save to the right to keep his team alive at 3-3 and forcing a sixth penalty kick.
Shane Davis beat Mayles to the right to give Weir a 4-3 lead, Barney completed his heroics against Targosky, and the Red Riders celebrated their six-round shootout victory.
"Back-to-back Barney came up strong for us," Pepe said. "He's an excellent goalie. He fits in well with this team. Barney stepped up big and the kids taking the penalty kicks stepped up for us."
Barney ended up with 10 saves for the Riders while Mayles ended up with 12 for the Knights in what was a spectacular goalie duel.
"It was the goalkeeper's first year playing soccer," Schlegal said. "Wheeling Central should be very proud."
Weir (14-3-2) advances to face Tyler Consolidated in the Regional Tournament on Thursday at Wheeling Island Stadium, with a trip to the West Virginia State Tournament in Beckley on the line.